Monday, January 15, 2007

OK, How Abooouut...Now!

I've been sitting here the last few hours going back and forth on how angry I should be right now. Not because I'm a hateful prick, but because it was my involuntary reaction when I picked up today's Times-Picayune to see in Section B, Page 1, a mediocre article on the murder of a young man aged 24 years, 2 days. His name is Chivas Doyle, and he is a Black American and a New Orleanian.

You know where this is going, don't you? Here goes.

Why does Helen Hill get front page, more than once, but Mr. Doyle, whom the paper described as a well-liked and big-hearted Ninth Ward "community activist" get Section B? Granted, I'm not up on front page etiquette, but this sort of thing tends to stand out. Aren't they both innocent people known for helping others?

Over the past week or so, I've tried to temper my anger, by (unsuccessfully) convincing myself that the outcry against crime was not as much about the murder of an educated middle-class White woman as it was about...[hell, insert social ill of choice]. Maybe I should use my mental energy more wisely.

Since Katrina, there's been a lot of talk about facing our race problem and "talking about it," but I get the sense everyone's waiting for their invitation to a nice roundtable summit, one afternoon at the Convention Center, where we can engage in a dialogue about our feelings. That ain't gonna cut it. If we are serious about tackling this issue, and about not catching Shelly Midura off guard next time the council votes along racial lines, then we need to address these things as they happen.

But for the time being, I guess I'll just continue to watch in amusement at how long we can ignore the white elephant in the middle of the room (who will probably start shitting all over the new Berber carpet any minute now).

11 comments:

Editor B said...

FWIW, I felt the same way, and Helen was a friend of mine. I was P.O.'d and then wondering about front page etiquette and what we can expect tomorrow. The T-P really needs to write a follow-up on Chivas Doyle. One thing the organizers of Thursday's march suggested was that the media needs to do a better job recognizing the tragedy of each killing. We can't ignore this elephant.

E.J. said...

Hey B,
I'm so sorry for your loss.

I can't believe the T-P would not catch the problem with their layout, 4 days after multiple speakers emphasized the importance of every life.

Hang in there, B.
e.j.

TravelingMermaid said...

Makes me wonder about the decision makers at the TP. (to say the least)Putting this young man's death in the B section is NOT what we marched for.
BTW - do you know the correct web address for 9th ward word man? I googled for it but came up with nothing.

slate said...

You see, damn it, this is NOT what we had in mind. I can't remember if it was B or who it was, I'll have to look it up, who said, "We need to march on City Hall EVERY time someone is murdered in our city." Great concept, unfeasible if we all want to keep our jobs, but it's true.

While we can't march, perhaps we could at least barrage City Hall with emails every single time, although as I recall, one of the bloggers, Loki I think it was, said City Hall's email is down. Typical.

Please know you're not alone in your outrage.

Editor B said...

I heard a team of folks were going to ride bikes to City Hall each time there was a murder. (And do what? I don't know.) Even a small symbolic action could become powerful if thought out properly. But it's all happening so fast.

judyb said...

Maybe it's time to send letters - via snail mail - to both City Hall and the TP demanding accountability and responsible reporting.

just my 2 cents.

ashley said...

They didn't give Dinerral's death the coverage they should have; they didn't give Chivas Doyle's death the coverage they should have.

When I wrote my post on Dick Shavers, you can believe that very little of my content came from the T-P.

I keep thinking to myself that we in New Orleans are about the most non-racist society I've ever lived in (not hard, after Chicago, Mississippi, LA, and Prague). When I go out in the town, I feel that way.

At a Kermit show, if I divide up the people, it's into tourist/non-tourist. Same at Rebirth shows.

At the march, it seemed like just one big group of New Orleanians that wanted to let the PTB know that we were tired of this crap.

At the dome on Sunday, we were all Saints fans. The only black and white was whether you were wearing a home or an away jersey.

Then when I see stuff like this press coverage and the complete lack of outrage, it makes me think that I'm just totally off my rocker.

Damn. What the hell is going on here...

slate said...

Ash, you're not off your rocker. I see it too and btw, use the same "divisions" you do, particularly tourist/non-tourist! I can't help but wonder sometimes, and it sounds really conspiracy-theory-nutbar, if someone's TRYING to get us all to hate each other. I don't think that's true really, I think it's just obtuseness colored by the writer or editor's own prejudice that's causing what we're seeing in the MSM.

That having been said, it sure would make the recovery easier and more lucrative for them if we all just hate each other, get fed up and leave, doesn't it?

Maitri said...

It's on MySpace.

The amount of gun and thug worship on his MySpace makes me wonder if he didn't die by his words.

He was no violence-loathing Helen Hill, but still someone loved and looked up to by his peers and students.

I don't know what to make of all this other than we ought to start talking to the TP as well as to our city leaders. Notice how the paper keeps doing its own thing regardless of evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

It's absolutley mind blowing. This man was not a drug pusher, or anything like that. He was a good kid with a passion for music.
At first, I wanted to think that The TP didn't print this on the front page because of the post march to city hall "high," but as more and more murders pile up on the b page, i wonder.

E.J. said...

Of course, right after I wrote a detailed reply to all of these comments, my computer ate it. But here are the cliff notes:

I'm glad other people also saw what I saw in the T-P coverage; because sometimes I do wonder about myself! :-)

Having lived in Chicago, I get exactly what Ashley said. How can we be both more and less prejudiced/tolerant at the same time? It confuses me because the bad rep N.O. has regarding race relations is both warranted yet not entirely accurate.

I had the same thoughts Maitri did about the victim's projection of violence. Was it who he was or did he feel the need to do that because that's how you succeed in the local rap industry or...? I don't know but it makes me wonder if violence has shaped all of us more than we realize [and I understand if the last sentence seemed tangential] :-)